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From January to June 2020, children and women in Ethiopia have been disproportionately affected by seasonal climatic shocks, disease outbreaks, locust infestation, and conflict displacement. The community transmission of COVID-19 has brought further complexity to the humanitarian response and has increased the potential number of people who need humanitarian assistance. 227,613 people that are displaced and hard-to-reach in Afar and Somali, have received medical consultations through mobile health teams. Similarly, 659,821 people have received water treatment chemicals and 436,616 have gained access to sufficient quantity of safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene through durable and long-lasting infrastructure investments. Additionally, 36,482 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and IDP returnees (21,320 women and 15,162 men), have been reached with key Gender-Based Violence (GBV) mitigation messages. The humanitarian response is challenged by a dynamic security environment as well as the spread of COVID-19. At mid-year, the Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) has a 76 per cent funding gap.
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Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
An estimated 4.87 million children have been identified as needing humanitarian assistance in 2020. The humanitarian needs in Ethiopia are complex and have been compounded by previous years’ caseloads of protracted displacement from drought, floods, and conflict as well as recurrent disease outbreaks, such as cholera, measles and polio, all of which have exhausted communities, Government resources and fragile services, including the health system. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic these needs have been exacerbated and essential health services have been even more overstretched. On 8 April the Government of Ethiopia declared a State of Emergency (SOE) for five months, to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impacts.
As of 29 June, 5,846 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 103 deaths were reported since the onset of the outbreak on 13 March 2020 (Refer to Annex C on page 13, for a snapshot on the COVID-19 situation as well as results achieved as of end of June). In addition, there have been more than 30,000 returnee migrants since the month of April alone.
Since January, a total of 5,662 cholera cases (42 confirmed) were reported including 73 related deaths. In terms of the measles outbreak, a total of 22,000 cases and 90 deaths were reported between January and the last week of May 2020. According to data from Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), the proportion of children affected by measles outbreaks in 2018 and 2019 was 31 per cent and 40 per cent respectively. However, this has increased to 47 per cent in the first four months of 2020. Due to the recommended measures of physical distancing and concerns of increased risk of spreading COVID-19 transmission among communities, the implementation of a mass vaccination campaign was temporarily postponed. This has led to an accumulation of a large cohort of susceptible children and an increased risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. With UNICEF’s and partner advocacy, the national measles vaccination campaign was eventually conducted from 30 June, with the application of COVID-19 protection measures including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers, and physical distancing. The campaign was very successful and reached more than 95 percent of its target.
In addition to disease outbreaks, the unstable security situation due to inter-communal violence in areas such as Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia, Somali and SNNP has hampered emergency assessments of conflict displacement as well as the implementation of the needed humanitarian response activities. Accordingly, the IOM DTM Round 22 has reported that there were some 1,820,811 IDPs as of 1 July. Ethiopia’s humanitarian situation deteriorated further in April-June, as a result of the ongoing desert locust infestation and flooding. Since January, a total of 180 woredas in seven regions had been impacted by the locust invasion, mainly in the East and Southern parts of the country. This is likely to continue well into 2021 when the rainy season is over in September. In May alone, 470,000 people were affected by excessive rainfall that led to flooding, which in addition resulted in 300,000 people being displaced with loss of lives and livelihoods in Somali, Oromia, Afar, SNNP regions as well as Dire Dawa and Harari.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).Media filesDownload logo